One of my favorite things about Dave is that he isn’t afraid to try new recipes and experiment with foods. To that end, I know that I can try just about any new recipe and he’ll be ok with it. And if we decide our experiment tastes like feet, we can always order a pizza, so there’s that.
I had a day off last week (read: I was home at a decent hour, which allowed me to
cook assemble more than a salad) and since he likes to eat healthy and I like carbs, I compromised and made gnocchi out of sweet potatoes instead of real potatoes.
The results were not bad, although I’m sure the argument could be made that the brown butter and sage negated the “healthy” point. Either way…I had always heard that gnocchi was a labor-intensive food but this recipe from The Barefoot Kitchen was pretty easy. I did, however, amend certain things, because really, who has time to drain fresh ricotta cheese in sieve 2 hours?
I also quartered the recipe, since it was just the two of us and we still had leftovers for lunch.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Yield: 2-4 servings
- ½ pound yams, rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
- 3 ounces
fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hoursor just plain, bought-from-the-grocery-store ricotta is fine
- ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoons salt
- a dash freshly ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup (approximately) all-purpose flour (this is one of those recipes where the use of the flour depends on the consistency of the dough. I ball-parked it but it could more or less).
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish
- a handful of slivered almonds (optional, as in, I forgot to add them and it still tasted good.)
Bake sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool. You can just as easily microwave them too, if you don’t have time to wait for the baking. I didn’t exactly let them cool very long before I peeled them. The skin just fell right off when I pulled at it. Put the insides of the potato into a bowl with the ricotta, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg. Mash it all up to blend. Mix in the flour a little at a time (I did it at a ¼ cup at a time) until you have a soft, non-sticky dough.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide it up into four chunks. Roll each chunk into a long rope until it is about 1 inch in diameter and use more flour if it gets sticky. Cut each rope into little gnocchi-sized pieces and transfers them to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
From here, the Barefoot Kitchen recipe says to make those pretty little fork tine indentations. I don’t care about the presentation since it was just Dave and me, so I just gently smashed the tops of each with my fork to get it close. But if you do care about presentation, here’s what you do:
With a fork sitting tines up on the cutting board, push your thumb into each dumpling, rolling it off the edge of the fork to create an indented roll. Transfer the pieces to the parchment sheet, and cover with a towel. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
Anyway, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment or wax paper. Let cool. They can sit out for up to 4 hours.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook/swirl until butter solids are brown and smell delicious, about 5 minutes. Add chopped sage and don’t worry if the butter bubbles, that’s normal. Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer sage butter (if adding almonds, only use ½ of the sage butter; if opting out of the almonds, use all) to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. If necessary, with the remaining butter, toast the almonds slightly. Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls.
Garnish with sage leaves and almonds.
Did I mention I also had a hankering for Spinach-Goat Cheese Quinoa Cakes? I made those too. They totally didn’t go with the gnocchi but they were tasty. They were actually the reason I stumbled upon the gnocchi recipe from The Barefoot Kitchen in the first place. I got the quinoa cake recipe from there a while back, and found the gnocchi recipe when I was trying to look up the quinoa cake recipe, thus, dinner was born.
The Barefoot Kitchen recipe makes 20 small (appetizer-portion) cakes so I halved the recipe to get 5-6 medium (side dish) cakes.
Spinach-Goat Cheese Quinoa Cakes
Yield: 5-6 small cakes
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped (CL’s note: I used store-bought bagged spinach salad)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil for frying
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (CL’s note: I buy the pre-washed and pre-rinsed kind. I haven’t tried anything else so I don’t know how tedious it is to wash and rinse, but the other stuff works just fine for me.)
- 4 ounces goat cheese (CL’s note: I really like goat cheese and even though half of the goat cheese of the original recipe would call for two ounces, I left this quantity alone. Do with that information what you will.)
- one egg, beaten (use only half of it)
- salt and pepper
Wash and chop the spinach, pat dry. Mince the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet. Cook the garlic until lightly browned, about a minute, then add the spinach. Cover, and cook until wilted. Set aside and let cool.
In a small saucepan, mix the quinoa and the goat cheese over low heat (to help melt the cheese). Remove from heat when well combined. Chop the cooked spinach finely, mix with the quinoa and goat cheese. Beat the (half of a) egg and mix in until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a layer of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Form the quinoa into 3-inch patties about ½-inch thick. Drop into the oil and cook until well browned on one side, 3-4 minutes or so. Flip and cook on the other side, then set on paper towels to drain.
And thus, dinner (and lunch the next day) was complete.